People In Glass Houses

Sometimes great design involves a gutsy leap of faith.  As with most things in life, achieving stunning results when designing interiors sometimes involves deviating from the comfortable norm.  Often the choice of new or unorthodox materials can bring results that leave clients gob-smacked.

The use of glass walls in commercial spaces has become commonplace and is often done so with the intent of encouraging the flow of space and light.  Applying this design philosophy to residential projects has always made great sense to me, but it is sometimes difficult to convince clients to take the plunge.

The former residence of famed architect Philip Johnson in New Canaan, Connecticut is one of the more famous homes incorporating an extensive use of glass.  The restraint and discipline shown by Johnson makes for a home that is truly a piece of art, admittedly though almost impossible to live comfortably in.

I do think that glass can add interest to a space by reflecting and transmitting light with brilliant results.  I had the challenge of designing a loft with half of the space occupying the basement level of a heritage building.  There was great ceiling height, but the tricky part was how to design for best use of the space without cutting off precious light and flow.


I chose to locate the main washroom in the middle of the floor and used acid-etched glass for all walls and the door.  The plumbing and electrical was brought in by running it down an existing structural post that was finished in mosaic tiles and a second pillar was duplicated to house the plumbing for the shower.  Walkover lights were then installed in the floor area around the washroom allowing the walls to take on a stunning glow in the evening.  The result is a room where the exterior walls become a beautiful focal point for the space.



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